How to Recover Missing & Deleted Files from SD Cards?

This article will discuss how to recover missing files from SD cards. If you have met SD card files missing issue, check out this article and get help.


By Lora / Updated on March 30, 2023

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Why did my files disappeared from my SD card?

If you are using SD cards to store and transfer files from digital cameras to computers, then you more or less would have experienced file loss from SD cards.

Be it from accidental deletion, virus attack, system crash, or other reasons. Users are constantly suffering from memory card data loss. Many users need approaches to recover missing files from SD cards.


Something weird happened with my SD card.

I was basically browsing photos I had recently taken, using Windows photo viewer; however, all of a sudden the software crashed, and then a huge number of photos seem to have disappeared.


- Question from DPReview


Have you ever met similar issues before? You are not the only one who has lost files and wants to recover data from SD card. Rest assured, this article will teach you how to find lost files on SD cards. But before that, it is necessary to discuss the causes.


Solutions: recover missing/deleted files from SD cards

This section will give the following SD card data recovery approaches with details and related info.

Before memory card data recovery

Prior to the solutions and instructions to recover data from SD cards, some notable things are offered for you.

Simply put, to recover missing files from SD cards, you could rely on your backups, commands, or, more conveniently, SD card recovery software.

Firstly, check if you have made backups of the essential data on the memory card. If not, then check out the dos and don’ts below and start SD card data recovery.

>> Dos & Don’ts


  • Do plug the SD card with a card reader properly and carefully.
  • Eject the SD card safely every time. Remember to tick “Safe to Remove Hardware”.


  • Please do not disconnect the SD card while it is running/writing data.
  • Please do not add any other items to it after data loss.
  • Don’t try to format it.
  • Now, please check these methods to get your files back.


Solution 1. Recover missing/deleted files from SD card effortlessly

For the sake of efficiency, convenience, and safety, we choose MyRecover as the recommended SD card data recovery app. It is professional, effective, comprehensive, and easy to get started.

Using this app, you can scan and recover missing files from SD cards within seconds to minutes.

As an easy tool, it offers an intuitive user interface and a simple data rescue procedure. All users could handle it and operate it efficiently.

What’s more, this excellent software could impress you in more aspects.

Supports data recovery from all storage devices: HDD/SSD/memory card/USB flash drive, etc. 
Recover 200+ types of data, including photos, videos, documents, compressed files, etc. 
Restore deleted files efficiently and meanwhile, keep the original filename/directory/format/quality. 
Compatible with all Windows OS: Windows 11/10/8/7 and Server. 
Work perfectly with NTFS/FAT32/exFAT/ReFS, etc.

It allows 30 MB of free data recovery each time; if you need to recover a large number of files, don’t hesitate to upgrade MyRecover to recover unlimited files from SD cards.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Run the software > connect your SD card to the PC > select SD card > Start Scan.


Step 2. It scans the SD card with Quick Scan & Deep Scan to respectively locate lost and deleted files.


Step 3. Go to Other missing files and select the files you need. 200 + file types are supported. E.g., go to Images > click Recover x files.  Thus you could recover deleted files from SD cards.


Within just 3 steps, you could quickly and effortlessly fix the SD card files missing issue.

This helpful app covers a wide range of data loss situations.

  • Deletion. Files removed from the SD cards will stay before overwriting; as long as you don’t add files to the SD card drive, the files are recoverable.
  • Formatting. SD cards that have been quick formatted are also recoverable. But the files will be overwritten if you have performed a full format.
  • Virus infection. Viruses deliberately hide/delete/modify/move your SD card files. MyRecover can easily scan and find back your files.
  • System crash. When the SD or the system crashes, your files might be lost due to interruption; just use MyRecover to search for your wanted files.

Solution 2. Unhide data on SD card

Except for deletion, you may also find SD card files missing for many reasons. For example, if the SD card is infected by viruses, your files might get invisible because they were hidden.

In this case, you need to unhide the files from the SD card. Follow the steps to do so.

Windows 7 users could also follow the detailed guide to show hidden files in Windows 7.

Step 1. Please open This PC by pressing Win+E > head over to the specific folder > View > Options > View > Advanced settings.

Step 2. Check the option Show hidden files, folders, and drives.


Then check if your wanted files are visible now.

Solution 3. Try searching for lost files in File Explorer

If the method above fails to unhide your wanted files, they might be moved to other places by viruses or due to human error.

Try searching for them in File Explorer will be a good option. Here we will take searching for pictures on SD cards as an example.

>> Launch File Explorer/This PC > open the SD card > input the image file extension .png or the file name (if you can recall) in the search box > press Enter > click Kind under the Search Tools > Pictures.


All corresponding files will be shown. Thus you can find If you have saved Excel file but can’t find it, this method will be helpful.

Solution 4. Recover missing files from SD card using commands

Also, you could use commands to get files back from SD cards if you are familiar with commands/parameters. Using the Recover command in CMD is one feasible method, but it can only restore one file at a time, which is pretty inconvenient.

So here, we would better use Windows File Recovery, which uses commands to scan the hard disk for lost files. It is a command-line utility with no graphical user interface, making it somewhat hard to use for ordinary people.

Info about syntax, recovery modes, and switches are detailed in the “How to use Windows File Recovery” guide; refer to it to get help.

It requires Windows 10, version 2004 (Build 19041) or later.

Step 1. Connect the SD card properly if you have unplugged it > go to This PC > right-click the SD card > click Properties.


Step 2. To decide which recovery mode to use, refer to the chart below. If you are using non-NTFS SD cards, please choose Extensive mode.

File system Scenarios mode
NTFS Deleted recently Regular
NTFS Deleted for a while Extensive
NTFS Formatted disk Extensive
NTFS corrupted disk Extensive
FAT and exFAT Any Extensive

Step 3. Use switches to target the files you need faster.

Switches Meaning Supported mode(s)
/n Filter the scan range: scans for a specific file with its file name/path/type, etc. All
/y: Recovers specific extension groups. Signature
/k Recovers system files. NTFS Segment​​​​​
/segment Segment mode; recovers files under NTFS drives using file record segments. Segment
/signature Signature mode; recovers files under all file system types using file headers. Signature
/u Recovers undeleted files, for example, from the Recycle Bin. NTFS Segment

Step 4. Go to Microsoft Store > click Get to install Windows File Recovery.


Step 5. Enter the command to scan the hard disk.

Command format: winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches]

Source drive: the SD card.

Destination drive: please select another place to store the recovered files to avoid overwriting.

E.g., input winfr F: D: /extensive /n *.jpg


This command could help you recover lost pictures from SD card free. All recovered photos will be stored in the D: drive. Filename and paths will be lost.

Meet any errors, check the Windows File Recovery troubleshooting tutorial to fix them.

Above are the methods to recover missing files from SD cards. Besides, there are some more related info that are helpful.

Possible causes of file loss on SD cards

Multiple factors can lead to files disappearing from SD cards.

Deletion.  You might have accidentally deleted or intentionally deleted files but later regretted it. In general, windows official tools and professional data recovery tools can help users recover accidentally deleted files.

◆ System crash. System crashes can interrupt the data reading and writing to the SD card, thus leading to file corruption/loss. If so, a corrupted SD card recovery process is necessary.

◆ Virus attack. Malware and viruses will maliciously modify/hide/delete the files on your SD card.

◆ Physical damage. Scratches on the SD cards will cause bad sectors and data on it will be corrupted or lost.

◆ Disk formatting. After formatting, all items on the storage devices will be removed. SD cards that are quick formatted could be recovered. The process is similar to recovering data from pen drive after format.


Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.